How do we evaluate a product? Can we base it on how it performs, how it is used, or how it looks?
A rating system can be a great way to rate something. There are many different examples of these systems that are literally around us every day. When you eat a meal, there this little white square on the back of literally EVERY food product, that tells you how it performs, and then you compare this to everything else you eat. When you get with your friends and are about to do a NFL Fantasy draft, you research every statistic there is to know about that player via a rating sytem. Or when you want to go see a movie, the first thing you do is see what everyone else thinks about it, and how many stars it got on Rotten Tomatoes.
It seems that ratings are everywhere in today’s society. Do they work. Yes! In their own way. Most ratings that we see all of the time are mostly there to convey statistics and results of something. The rating is supposed to be an unbiased way of looking at something, and then interpreting it and putting your own personal spin on what you think the numbers really mean.
One important way that designers, architects, engineers, and consumers alike use rating systems in today’s building construction is LEED. There are many other systems that use these but I will focus on this one example. LEED uses a unique rating system to rate and evaluate systems and building components of a building. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in 9 categories: Sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, locations and linkages, awareness and education, innovation and design, and regional priority. Then each category has components and then each category, if it meets the requirement, will receive a point. Then all of the points are added up and then the total tells you how the building stacks up against other buildings. With a rating system like this, every building is put on the same level, and is unbiasedly rated. It is a great way to meet great sustainable standards and to look at buildings with a different eye.
Using this system, you see a great use of a rating system. It gives value to something that we feel that is an non-rateable thing.